We are continually building on our environmental sector jargon buster to make our site content (including job profiles, information pages and blogs) more accessible. Please click the headings and arrows below to find a range of definitions and further resources — links, articles, videos and more.

Jargon Buster

Nonliving, as in abiotic factor, which is a nonliving physical and chemical attribute of a system, for example light, temperature, wind patterns, rocks, soil, pH, pressure, etc. in an environment.

A land management system where trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland.

An expert in the science of soil management and crop production.

An accepted shortening of the phrase ‘biological diversity’ commonly used to describe the difference between species found in a certain area.

An approach to development, and/or land management, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was before.

The scientific study of the physiology, structure, genetics, ecology, distribution, classification, and economic importance of plants.

Plants comprising the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts

The collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.

A situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.

The consenting process in offshore wind farm development is the process of assessing the impacts on people and the environment before a wind farm can be developed. Environmental roles exist in this area, crossing over with ecology.

Information can be found in this video introduction:

See this informational website (facesofwindenergy.com) for more information on environmental careers in offshore wind consenting.

Related Job Profiles

Preservation and protection

The process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain as you develop in your career

An ecological consultant undertakes research and surveys to provide advice on ecological matters such as, how plans to use a particular area of land may affect the plant and animal species and types of habitats present.

A law to make new provision for public access to the countryside outlining management, rights and responsibilities

A data logger is an electronic device that records data over time or about location either with a built-in instrument or sensor or via external instruments.

The branch of science dealing with the physical constitution of the earth and its atmosphere.

The branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.

Describes measures which can be put in place to improve the ecological condition of a site on completion of a development project

A method for identifying ecological features likely to be affected by development and assessing the potential impacts to them, typically forms part of a wider EIA

Environmental DNA or eDNA is DNA that is collected from a variety of environmental samples such as soil, seawater, snow or air, rather than directly sampled from an individual organism

A method for identifying the environmental features likely to be affected by a development and assessing the potential impacts to them

Animal life

Land consisting of a low and marshy or frequently flooded area of land with alkaline, neutral, or only slightly acid peaty soil.

Plant life

The science or practice of planting, managing, and caring for forests.

The study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics.

The branch of molecular biology concerned with the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes.

Geodiversity refers to the topography, structure and natural form of the land.

A system that creates, manages, analyses, and maps all types of data. ‘QGIS’ is one example of a GIS system that is commonly used in ecology and conservation careers.

The study of the physical features of the surface of the earth and their relation to its geological structures.

A protected species, this means that the animals and their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are protected by law

Economic activities that deliver goods and services that are likely to help the UK generate lower emissions of greenhouse gases, predominantly carbon dioxide

The natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism

A process that determines whether or not development plans could negatively impact local plans on a recognised protected European site

An area of high or mountainous land.

The art or practice of garden cultivation and management.

Hydroecological validation (HEV) uses ecological and hydrological data to help us assess the ecological response of a site to river flow.

Hydrogeomorphology has been defined as “an interdisciplinary science that focuses on the interaction and linkage of hydrologic processes with landforms or earth materials and the interaction of geomorphic processes with surface and subsurface water in temporal and spatial dimensions.”

A structured a process for considering the implications of development on people and the environment

An invasive species is an organism that typically causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native.

See also ‘Japanese Knotweed’ as an example.

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive, non-native plant species that is very difficult to remove and can cause problems for owners of land and property.

Further reading: https://www.rhs.org.uk/weeds/japanese-knotweed

The process of managing the use and development of land resources in both urban and rural settings

An aquatic plant large enough to be seen by the naked eye.

The action of reducing the severity, or seriousness of potential negative impacts

Native species are species that have become part of an ecosystem through natural processes.

Displaying autistic spectrum disorder or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behaviour such as dyslexia, ADHD.

An organisation that operates independently of any government or private business

The biology of fossil animals and plants.
Land consisting largely of peat or peat bogs. Peat is a brown deposit resembling soil, formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter in the wet acidic conditions of bogs and fens.

A standardised system for classifying and mapping habitats in all parts of Great Britain, including urban areas

A high level assessment of the ecological features present, or potentially present, within a site and its surrounding area

An assessment to determine the suitability of buildings and other features for roosting bats

A species of animal or plant which it is forbidden by law to harm or destroy, this may also include the habitat surrounding the protected species

In ecology, resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to respond to a perturbation or disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly.

Returning a habitat back to its former condition or enhancing it to be better (see BNG)

Refers to ‘rewildling’ the marine habitat, to restore species such as native oysters and seagrass.

Read more: https://rewildingeurope.com/rew-project/seawilding/

A person with an interest or concern in something.

A committee that decides on the priorities or order of business of an organization and manages the general course of its operations.

Fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care and social well-being

Of or on dry land

The scientific study of the behaviour, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals.